b. Charles Earland, 24th May 1941, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 11th December 1999, Kansas City, Missourri, U.S.A.
Charles Earland came into his own at the tail end of the great 1960's, with a series of albums for the the Prestige label.
Charles, actually, started his musical experiences on his father's alto sax as a child.
When he was in high school, he played baritone in a band that also featured Pat Martino on guitar, Lew Tabackin on tenor, and yes, Frankie Avalon on trumpet.
After playing in the Temple University band, he toured as a tenor player with McGriff for three years.
He became interested with McGriff's organ playing, and started learning the Hammond B-3 at intermission breaks.
Charles' way of playing earned him the nickname 'The Mighty Burner'.
When Jimmy let him go, Charles moved to the organ permanently, forming a trio with Martino and drummer Bobby Durham.
He made his first recordings for Choice in 1966, then joined Lou Donaldson for two years (1968-69) and two albums before being signed as a solo artist to Prestige.
Charles' first album for Prestige, 'Black Talk!', became a best-selling classic of the soul-jazz genre.
He recorded the Spiral Starecase's pop/rock hit 'More Today Than Yesterday' in 1969.
He recorded eight more albums for Prestige, one of which featured a young unknown Philadelphian named Grover Washington, Jr, then switching to Muse before landing contracts with Mercury and Columbia.
By this time, the organ trio genre had gone into eclipse, and in the spirit of the times, Charles acquired some synthesizers and converted to pop/disco in collaboration with his wife, singer/songwriter Sheryl Kendrick.
odyssey - 1976 / the great pyramid - 1976 / revelation - 1977 / perceptions - 1978
There followed a succession of successful jazz / soul / funk albums including 'Odyssey' in 1976, featuring 'Intergalactic Love Song', 'The Great Pyramid', featuring 'Driftin' and perhaps his best remembered album from this period 'Perceptions', featuring the Randy Muller (Brass Construction) produced 'Let The Music Play'.
The latter record was in the U.S. charts for five weeks and reached number 46 in the U.K. Singles Chart.
comin' to you live - 1980 / pleasant afternoon - 1981
He moved into the Eighties with 'Coming To You Live' featuring 'The Woman In You' and the title track.
Charles' 1981 album release, 'Pleasant Afternoon' featured the song 'Murilley', which became highly popular on the Acid Jazz scene at the time.
There were further CBS outings with 'Street Themes' and 'Earland's Jam'.
In 1983 he released an odd twelve inch single entitled 'It's A Doggie Boogie, Baby', popular on the UK dancefloors.
Sheryl Kendrick's death from sickle-cell anaemia in 1985 left Charles desolate, and he stopped playing for a while, but a gig at the Chickrick House on Chicago's South Side in the late '80's brought him back to the Hammond B-3.
Two excellent albums in the old soul-jazz groove for Milestone followed, and the '90's found him returning to the Muse label.
Charles Earland died of heart failure on December 11th, 1999, the morning after playing a gig in Kansas City, he was 58.
Soul Crib (Choice Records 1969)
Black Talk! (Original Jazz Records 1969)
Charles Earland [live] (Trip Records 1969)
Black Drops (Prestige Records 1970)
Living Black! (Prestige Records 1970)
Live at the Lighthouse (Prestige Records 1972)
Charles 3 (Prestige Records 1972)
Intensity (Prestige Records 1972)
The Dynamite Brothers (Prestige Records 1973)
Leaving This Planet (Prestige Records 1973)
Kharma (Prestige Records 1974)
Odyssey (Mercury Records 1975)
The Great Pyramid (Mercury Records 1976)
Mama Roots (Muse Records 1977)
Smokin' (Muse Records 1977)
Revelation (Mercury Records 1977)
Pleasant Afternoon (Muse Records 1978)
Infant Eyes (Muse Records 1978)
Perceptions (Mercury Records 1978)
Coming to You Live (Columbia Records 1980)
Burners (Prestige Records 1981)
In the Pocket (Muse Records 1982)
Earland's Jam (CBS Records 1982)
Street Themes (CBS Records 1983)
Front Burner (Milestone Records 1988)
Third Degree Burn (Milestone Records 1989)
Whip Appeal (Muse Records 1990)
Unforgettable (Muse Records 1991)
I Ain't Jivin', I'm Jammin' (Muse Records 1992)
Ready 'n' Able (Muse Records 1995)
Blowing the Blues Away (High Note Records 1997)
Jazz Organ Summit (Cannonball Records 1998)
Slammin' & Jammin' (Savant Records 1998)
Live (Cannonball Records 1999)
Cookin' with the Mighty Burner (High Note Records 1999)
The Almighty Burner (32 Jazz Records 2000)
Stomp! (High Note Records 2000)